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Google's autonomous cars ready for the road

Google's autonomous vehicles will reach California's roads this summer, the company has announced in a blog post.

Writing in the blog, project director Chris Urmson says the company is ready to take the cars to Mountain View, with safety drivers aboard. These cars will be capped at 25mph, and will have removable steering wheels, as well as the acceleration and break pedals.


The cars will run the same software used by Google's Lexus RX450h fleet, which the company used before announcing its own vehicles. That fleet has logged nearly a million autonomous miles on the roads since the project started, Urmson said, adding that recently it has been self-driving about 10,000 miles a week.

"In fact, it’s the equivalent of about 75 years of typical American adult driving experience.“

"We're looking forward to learning how the community perceives and interacts with the vehicles," says Urmson, "and to uncovering challenges that are unique to a fully self-driving vehicle — e.g. where it should stop if it can't stop at its exact destination due to construction or congestion. In the coming years, we'd like to run small pilot programs with our prototypes to learn what people would like to do with vehicles like this."

Many of the major car makers have been heavily involved in creating autonomous vehicles, including Audi, BMW, Tesla, but also Google and Apple.

Earlier this week it emerged that Google's self-driving cars have been involved in 11 accidents so far; the company claims that its vehicles weren't at fault in any instance.